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Gone Griffith

I did my capstone paper on Thomas Dixon’s novel, The Clansman, which was the inspiration for Griffith’s Birth of a Nation. Having this background, I was prepared for the way Griffith structured his films and how during 1915 there wasn’t any type of regulation so anything can happen. I saw a lot of similarities between Birth of a Nation and Martyrs of the Alamo, particularly the way that there were two distinct sides. In Martyrs, it was obvious that it was the good-willed Texans versus the terrible tyrant Mexicans, which is the exact Texas History I was taught. I think that this is precisely how Texans wanted this movie to be portrayed, a typical good versus evil plot where the good guys always win and this time, good and bad are separated by color. I do think its interesting that they chose to leave out any other race that actually took part in the battle and I’m wondering if that was simply to keep the separation through a racial line. I think that this entire film made me fully realize how much pride is instilled in Texans through our ability to put our history on a pedestal. I know we’ve talked all semester about how Texans tend to be somewhat ignorant about the history of the state and I guess I never realized how being taught Texas history in school meant that I had a totally biased view. I’m going to be totally honest, I thought that the film was pretty accurate from my Texas history education which of course portrayed the battle of the Alamo as way of achieving freedom from Mexico, definitely not for the reason of slavery. It’s really interesting to hear the truth about the film and to see how romanticized the battle was. It showed all of the Texas soldiers as heroes fighting for what they thought was right when in reality they were fighting for their freedom and slavery. The whole idea is totally mind-boggling to me!

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